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Beware of fake journal acceptance letters

An April 18, 2018 article on the Society for Scholarly Authors’ blog, The Scholarly Kitchen, called attention to a scam in which unknown individuals, using fake acceptance letters, are promising publication in the journal of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The article’s author, Angela Cochran, ASCE’s associate publisher and journals director, said that over the last five years, the society has become aware of seven fake acceptance letters for its journals.

Some of the telling signs that the letters are not from ASAE, according to Cochran, include similar ASAE letterhead, but not the letterhead used to send acceptance letters; no journal title included; a publication date (which ASAE never provides); and real editor names that are misspelled and have fake signatures.

To help combat these scammers, Cochran suggests publishers “add language to author guides/information/instructions about what an author should expect to happen:”

  • Only the corresponding author can submit a manuscript
  • All papers are submitted to our submission site* (include the URL)
  • A confirmation email will be sent to the author upon successful submission (include information about from whom the email will come)
  • Give an example of the format of our manuscript numbers
  • Explain upfront about fees
  • Give an idea of the timeline for first decision and what the typical process looks like (we never accept an original submission)
  • Explain that all correspondence related to the review and acceptance of the paper will come from emails generated by the submission system
  • Refer authors to the Think.Check.Submit. page for more information.